bizEDGE NZ - Huawei backs Auckland's innovation hub

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Huawei backs Auckland's innovation hub

Huawei is officially GridAKL’s foundation partner, and will provide a $1 million sponsorship to the Auckland based innovation hub.

This is expected to help GridAKL gain momentum and credibility, and help Kiwi companies make inroads into international markets.

Guo Ping, Huawei global deputy chairman and rotating CEO, attended an event at GridAKL in Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, to mark the milestone alongside Steven Joyce, Economic Development Minister, and Len Brown, Mayor.

GridAKL fosters start-up companies, showcases Auckland’s ICT industry to international investors and partners, and increases collaboration in NZ's innovation ecosystem.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) manages GridAKL on behalf of Auckland Council.

ATEED has contracted an operator (a partnership of BizDojo and The Icehouse) to run the hub’s day-to-day activation, tenant management and marketing.

The three-year partnership between Huawei and ATEED will help the organisation leverage the council’s $20 million investment in GridAKL and develop commercial opportunities to deliver for Auckland’s economy.

Len Brown, Auckland Mayor, says, "Auckland Council is delighted to have a company of Huawei’s global reach and expertise as its GridAKL foundation partner.

“Huawei is building nearly half of the world’s 4G networks, and this is a potent indicator of their scale and reach.

“Huawei is the kind of multi-national company which can make and attract investment into GridAKL, and help our emerging ‘born global’ ICT and digital companies on their journey to export."

During his visit, Guo toured the refurbished character Lysaght building, which is due to open as stage two of GridAKL later this year.

"Since arriving in New Zealand 10 years ago, Huawei has forged many great partnerships with local companies," Guo says.

"Their success has been critical to our success, and we are very happy to be given an opportunity to work with and support a new generation of New Zealand companies.

"We are proud to be partnering with Auckland Council on this initiative and hope to see many great ideas come to life here at GridAKL," he says.

China is a significant growth market for Auckland and New Zealand, and Brown says this partnership creates potential opportunities for GridAKL to connect with China and other regions, through Huawei’s international networks.

Furthermore, Huawei will help turn GridAKL’s first two permanent buildings into a premium location by installing its enterprise platform and smart building infrastructure equipment.

Huawei will also leverage its global procurement network, bringing its procurement team to meet with businesses at GridAKL.

Brett O’Riley, ATEED chief executive, says Huawei’s link with GridAKL fits with Waterfront Auckland’s new Wynyard Quarter Smart initiative.

This initiative utilises technology to measure and communicate performance against a number of precinct-wide sustainability targets, in areas such as energy use and building performance.

O’Riley says Huawei’s involvement adds powerful backing and international credibility to council’s investment in the innovation precinct.

"The partnership provides a platform for GridAKL to showcase emergent technology for New Zealand, encouraging other companies to invest in the project.

“This sponsorship helps to secure the precinct’s future economic stability, and is a start towards GridAKL being independent of Council funding," he says.

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